Have you recently noticed water performance issues, water spots on your lawn, and spikes in your water bills? If so, there’s a high possibility your pipes have been damaged. Gradual pipe deterioration has become a common issue for dated plumbing systems.

However, reasonably new pipes can also experience such problems. You might be wondering how recently installed pipes end up breaking down sooner than expected. Well, pipe deterioration happens over more than just old age. Read on to learn more about factors that lead to premature pipe replacement.

1. Corrosion

The leading cause of pipe corrosion is hard, mineral-rich water. Hard water negatively affects the pipe by scraping away its inside parts harder than soft water. Additionally, when pipes get fitted together improperly, their metal opposing charges can lead to wear and tear.

Prolonged exposure of pipes to corrosive elements leads to premature pipe replacements. Furthermore, the use of chemical drain cleaners may also cause corrosion of your pipes. This is due to the acidic components in the drain cleaners, which eats away the inner sides of the pipe.

2. Clogs

Clogging of pipes is among the most common causes of premature pipe replacements. When particular small objects such as grease and hair accidentally find their way into pipes, they end up building up over time. This usually happens when they get flashed inside the drain.

Moreover, corrosion on the inside walls of pipes hinders water movements, thus leading to clogs. Either way, clogging of pipes causes back-ups, which drives up the pressure in your pipes, leading to leaks.

3. Environmental Factors

Before you opt for some pipe repair options, it’s in your best interest to first identify the environmental causes of your pipe breakdown. Most environmental factors, such as tremors and earthquakes, cause the most severe pipe damages. This mostly happens to properties along geological fault lines.

Sudden changes in the environment often mark the final straw for plumbing systems, especially those affected by other factors such as corrosion. No matter the duration of use, environmental stress on crucial pipe joints can cause severe fractures and cracks.

When combined with other factors such as human error, low pipe structure, and high surface pressure, environmental stress can eventually lead to a full collapse of your entire pipe system. Additionally, a sudden drop in temperature during the winter season also has a potentially hazardous effect to your pipes.

When water freezes within your pipe system, pressure builds up exponentially, thus resulting in burst pipes.
Pipes affected by these conditions include:

  • Copper pipes
  • Cement pipes
  • Clay pipes
  • Pipe joints and laterals
  • Plastic pipes

Another environmental factor that causes premature pipe replacement is intrusion by digging, animals, or underground plants. Usually, when your pipes are fitted underground, you might think they are safe from any damages. However, this is not the case. Underground soil can cause friction, which damages your pipe.

In cases where the soil contains too many rocks, if you fail to use a chain trencher that pulverizes the stones, you’ll end up prematurely replacing your pipe way before it reaches its breaking point.

4. A Rapid Change in Temperature

Extreme temperature changes in your pipe force the pipe to contract and expand. Further contraction and expansion can lead to cracks in the pipe, mostly due to freezing temperatures. You need to pay attention to the performance of your plumbing system as any alteration of temperature possesses a high risk of leaks.

5. Poor Installation

It’s incredibly important to ensure your technician installs the pipes correctly. In most cases, poorly installed pipes have a high risk of failure even before their breaking point. When a section of your pipe needs replacement, technicians might forget to remove debris, which later causes accumulation of residue.

Another installation issue is commonly known as the short insertion. This happens when a technician fails to push the entire pipe into the filing. Such a mistake leads to a build-up of contaminants, causing pipe failure. This will make you have to prematurely replace your pipe system.

6. Too Much Exposure to Sunlight

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause major damage to your pipe system. This usually happens because of the ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. These rays break down the pipe materials, making them more brittle.

In most cases, failure to provide cover minimizes the life span of pipes when you’re dealing with ones located above ground,.

7. High Water Pressure

Although most people prefer high water pressure in their showers, excessive force is highly harmful to your pipes. Pipes have a mechanism that makes them withstand a certain amount of stress. Intensive pressure can cause pipes to leak due to cracks that develop in the inner linings of the pipe.

8. Low pH

Water pH refers to its acidity, ranging between zero, the most acidic, to 14, the most alkaline. Seven represents the neutral pH of water. When dealing with copper pipes, you need to have concerns about your water pH.

If you’re using more alkaline water, a copper oxide film will form on the inner parts of your pipe, thus minimizing corrosion. However, if your water pH is either acidic or neutral, it dissolves the copper barriers, leaving your pipes exposed to erosion.

9. Oxygen and Water Temperature

Oxygenated water constantly replenishes your water system. This means the air dissolved in the water consists of approximately 70% nitrogen and 30% oxygen. Although nitrogen is non-corrosive, oxygen causes corrosion through oxidation.

Oxidation occurs when metal changes to rust, referred to as oxide. Through this process, the metal weakens and thins as more of it gets converted to rust. Continuous corrosion leads to the accumulation of rust. The uneven surface caused by rust attracts impurities from the water, leading to build-up inside your pipes.

Due to the massive build-up, your pipes become exposed to breakages. Therefore, pinhole cracks tend to develop as a result of the oxide. The situation can worsen whereby a minimal shift in the earth or force on the exposed pipes leads to an entire breakdown of your pipe system.

Here, temperature plays a very crucial role. The higher the water temperatures, the faster the oxidation process occurs. Variation in temperature is the main reason why corrosion mostly occurs in hot water lines instead of cold-water lines.

10. Water Turbulence

Turbulent flow is motion characterized by chaotic alterations in velocity and pressure. It’s contrary to laminar flow, which happens when fluid flows parallel without disruption.

High velocity in water pipes causes turbulence. Furthermore, sharp turns, obstacles, and elbows can also lead to water turbulence. Either way, any disturbance in the water flow leads to pipe corrosion.

Excessive kinetic energy is the leading cause of water turbulence. Due to this, turbulence commonly occurs in low viscosity fluids. Unsteady vortices of many sizes may also appear, thus increasing friction drag. This increases the energy required to pump water through the pipe.

As a result, cavitation occurs, leading to a negative influence on the longevity of your pipe.

Our Outstanding Services

Over 30 years, JW Plumbing, Heating and Air has gained experience in solving both your indoor and outdoor comfort challenges in Los Angeles, CA. We address water treatment, water heating, drain cleaning, and all other plumbing related issues. Our professional technicians are fully qualified and trusted to handle all your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. For more information on pipe replacements, contact us JW Plumbing, Heating and Air today.

Updated: March 16, 2024

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